By Colonel Angus

I was first introduced to Kamelot when Roy Khan joined the band for "Siege Perilous".  I was a big fan Khan’s work with Conception but Kamelot brought out a whole new level in his singing.  I wasn’t quite sure how the band would continue without him on lead vocals but I’m happy to say, they are doing just fine.   This is the second release with Tommy Karevik and it is an improvement on "Silverthorn".  Although I liked "Silverthorn", there was something about that record that just didn’t sit well with me upon its release.  I have since played the hell out of it and it grows on you. "Haven", on the other hand, was an instant winner and did not need repeated plays to convince me of its quality.

"Haven" has all the elements that have become synonymous with Kamelot; symphonic passages mixed with power metal and a healthy dose of operatic vocals.  If you are looking for something new from these guys, then look elsewhere but what you do get a more (and in some cases better) of the same thing.  They have managed to create a winning template and like they say “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.  I have a hard time picking specific tunes that stand out because I feel the album works best if heard in its entirety.  Although, if pressed, I would have to say that “Citizen Zero”, “Veil Of Elysium”, and “End Of Innocence” are good cuts to use to convert a new listener.  Even the ballads “Under Grey Skies” and “Here’s To The Fall” work really well when you listen to the whole CD.

As mentioned earlier, this is Karevik’s second album with the band and he puts a very powerful and emotional performance in his vocals.  He does a great job continuing the vocal legacy of Kamelot while still bringing his own little twists to his performance.  Thomas Youngblood continues to come up with catchy riffs and soaring leads.  Sean Tibbets and Casey Grillo keep the rhythm as tight as ever and Oliver Palotai adds those symphonic elements that are crucial to the Kamelot sound.  The band, aside from Karevik, have been together since the "Ghost Opera" so they really are like a well-oiled machine.  You may know what you are going to get but the quality is such that you find comfort in it.

A first for "Haven" is that this is Kamelot’s first release for Napalm Records.  Sometimes a label switch changes the music but not this time.  "Haven" is just what you would want from Kamelot.  "Siege Perilous" will always have a special place in my record collection because it was the first disk I heard from them and it was the one that led me to become a fan but Haven is a great addition to my Kamelot CD collection.  If you were already a fan, you will be pleased with this release.  If you have never heard Kamelot, then "Haven" is a great place to start.